The Arcanis 5e campaign setting by Paradigm Concepts is a large book sitting at 420 pages. It presents a campaign world for D&D 5e that is original and very deeply detailed. It is rich in politics and religion and everything else that makes for a good, epic campaign. The book is overflowing with beautiful artwork. Chapters 1 to 5 in this book entirely replace chapters 2 to 6 in the Player's Hanbook, There is also a free Arcanis Primer available if you want to get a taste of the setting before fully diving in… http://www.drivethrurpg.co-
To start with, Chapter 1 presents the races of Arcanis. There is no need to flip back and forth between the Player’s Handbook and the Arcanis campaign book, however, as the races for Arcanis are all reimagined and given a definite twist to make them setting specific. Of the standard D&D races there are: Dark-Kin (Tieflings) who bear the taint of an infernal invasion centuries ago; Dwarves, formerly giants now cursed for not aiding humans as the gods intended; Elorii (Elves) former slaves of an ancient reptilian race, bonded to the four elements and mourning the loss of their dead gods; Gnomes, deformed mutants created by the mating of Dwarves and Humans; the current masters of the Known Lands. Added to the standard races are: Kio, mysterious survivors from an ancient sky city that fell to earth centuries ago; Ss’ressen, lizard folk who have abandoned their reptilian overlords to live and serve among the human kingdoms; Undir, semi aquatic river folk descended from human and undine forbearers; and Val, descendants of humans who bred with celestial Valinor, and are now the ruling class of the human nations. Dragonborn, Halflings, Half Elves and Half Orcs do not make an appearance in Arcanis.
Chapter 2 is devoted to the classes of Arcanis. As with chapter one, there is no need to flip between the Players Handbook and the setting book to sort out your character’s class. All the information is here. As with the races above, all of the classes and their archetypes are either re-imagined classics, or entirely new for the setting. The Cleric and Holy Champion (Paladin) classes are designed to fit specifically into the setting’s gods and churches. The Fighter, Fury (Barbarian), Ranger and Rogue have all new archetypes to suit the classes in this world. The classic wizard is gone, but there are two types of sorcerers, the Elder Sorcerer and the Eldritch Sorcerer. The first represents the magic tradition of the elder races of the land, and represents detailed and specific study and casting of spells. The Elder Sorcerer is the magic using class of the younger races, it is not as precise, but is fierce and is wielded like a hammer. The Warlock is not available for play (yet) but many of the rules for the warlock are cleverly redesigned to represent the spirit magic of the Shaman. The Druid and the Bard are absent from the book.
Chapter 3, Backgrounds introduces new, setting specific backgrounds and introduces background effects based on your character’s nationality. Along with these things it introduces Fate, a replacement mechanic for inspiration, which represents the Divine Harlot’s fickle ebb and flow of forces in the world. This chapter also announces that Alignment is out. The events in Arcanis are all various shades of grey, and the use of alignment is too restrictive.
Chapter 4, Equipment is also a complete replacement of the equipment chapter in the Player’s Handbook. As well as the standard adventuring gear, weapons and armor, the book introduces regional weapons and armor, and slaves.
Chapter 5, Customization Options presents rules for Allegiance to a particular country, Fame, Secret Society membership, revised rules on Multiclassing, setting specific Feats that replace those from the Player’s Hanbook, and Combat Schools.
Chapters 6 and 7 present setting specific rules for magic and new rules for psionics. They also include new spells, spell lists and psionic powers. I won’t go into details here, but the chapters are well written and clear. They present a different take on the traditional D&D metaphysics, but it is all internally consistent and fits the setting.
Chapter 8 presents the world of Arcanis, It is almost 100 pages of detailed description representing the history and geography of the world. In Arcanis, as in the real world, religion and politics play a large role in world events. We see the role of the church of the Pantheon of Man presented here from the personal piety of a peasant believer to world shaking events such as heresies and crusades. The politics and power struggles are present here as well. All the detail present shows that this is a world where the adventurers actions can affect the paths of nations. For fans of the older edition of Arcanis, it appears that the timeline has been advanced 50 to 100 years.
The book ends with 2 appendices of new monsters and new magic items and a detailed index At the time of this writing, (March 2018) the hardcover book is not out yet. From what I understand the book is expected to be out in May 2018.
[5 of 5 Stars!]